Let’s face it: We, the people, are stressed out. Even when we actually manage to take our much-needed vacations, we have to deal with a host of anxieties: Trip planning can be a nightmare, we’re worried about delays and missed connections, and don’t even get us started on the pile of email we’ll face when we get back. And it doesn’t stop there: The most avid traveler might still have to contend with panic attacks, a fear of flying, or general anxiety. But none of that is going to stop us from exploring the world. Instead, we’re offering the Modern Globe-Trotter’s Guide to traveling with, in spite of, and to overcome anxiety.
What to Do if You Have a Panic Attack on Vacation
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been managing an anxiety disorder for years or if you’ve never experienced panic before—when you’re far from the comforts of home, a panic attack can send shockwaves through your relaxation time. But the good news is that these deeply upsetting events tend to be brief and they don’t have to reverberate through the rest of your trip. We’ve checked in with psychologists and anxiety experts to offer a collection of coping techniques that will help you calm your feelings in the moment and be prepared in the future.
- The full story: What to Do When You Have a Panic Attack on Vacation
- Related: How to Stay Calm When Your Trip Goes Wrong
6 Stay-Calm Strategies for Dealing With Anxiety Before a Trip
If you’re the type of person who feels more anxious the closer you get to your next trip, or if you regularly find yourself fighting back nausea on the ride to the airport, know that you’re not alone. Anxiety before a trip is not uncommon, and some amount of concern about travel can be healthy. You are stepping outside your comfort zone, after all. But there are plenty of physical and mental exercises you can do to soothe your worried mind. This collection of research-backed tips from experts will help you loosen those knots in your stomach before—and even during—your trip.
- The full story: 6 Stay-Calm Strategies for Dealing With Anxiety Before a Trip
- Related: How Early Should You Actually Get to the Airport?
Why a Simple Hike Can Make Your Entire Vacation More Relaxing
Looking to shed some stress on your next trip? You could book a weeklong stay at a spa, but you might get just as much relief from sitting in a park for a little while. New studies shows that spending time in nature can actually improve your physical and mental wellbeing. (In fact, some doctors have even begun to “prescribe” nature for patients with depression and anxiety). Better news? You don’t have to devote all your vacation time in the great outdoors to reap its rewards. Here’s what you need to know about this easy (and free) way to really decompress.
- The full story: A Hike Can Make Your Entire Vacation More Relaxing, Studies Show
- Related: On Foot: Best Day Hikes On the Planet
- Related: This Land Is Our Land: Places in Europe Where Access to Nature Is a Basic Human Right
- Related: When and Where to See Flowers Blooming Around the World
How a Travel Editor Overcame Her Crippling Fear of Flying
AFAR travel news editor Michelle Baran grew up a world traveler—she got her first passport when she was three years old. Then, unexpectedly, she developed an intense fear of flying. For years, she spent flights death-gripping the armrests and crying, but she was a travel editor: She couldn’t—wouldn’t—stop traveling. In this piece, she recounts what it was like to be a lifelong traveler suddenly burdened by a terrifying fear of flying—and how she managed to beat it.
- The full story: How a Travel Editor Overcame Her Crippling Fear of Flying
- Related: What I Learned From the Famously Fearless Creatures of the Galápagos Islands
- Related: On Disney’s New Rise of the Resistance Ride, I Faced a Lifelong Fear of Falling
- Related: What Is Turbulence—and How Can Understanding It Help Anxious Flyers?
What Traveling With an Anxious Child Has Taught Me
Millennials may be the most anxious generation in history (the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 25 percent of kids between ages 13 and 19 have an anxiety disorder). But what does that mean for their travel-loving parents? What do you do when you’re eager to show your kids the world, only to find them nervous and resistant to hit the road? That’s what AFAR guides editor Ann Shields wondered when her own daughter was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Here she explores how, over time and with effort, they’ve discovered how to travel together and what they need to do when the anxiety monster rears its ugly head.
- The full story: What Traveling With an Anxious Child Has Taught Me
- Related: Why You Should Travel Internationally With Your Children
- Related: 18 Fantastic Worldwide Destinations for Families—and Where to Stay There
- Related: Foster a Love of Wildlife With These Family-Friendly Safaris
7 Meditation Retreats Close to Home
Ready to get your om on? Mounting evidence suggests that meditation and other such mindfulness practices can reduce stress and improve your psychological well-being. If you’re plagued by stress and in need of a hard reset, a meditation retreat might be just what you need. Of course, for many, the idea of taking all their well-earned vacation time and airline miles to fly to a different country to sit in silence for a week is a tough sell. But who said you need to embark on a pilgrimage to do a little soul-searching? There are a number of wonderful Zen and meditation centers right here in the United States. At these places, getting the recharge you need can be accessible and easy.
- The full story: 8 Meditation Retreats in the U.S. to Book Now
- Related: The World’s Best Wellness Resorts
- Related: Would You Spend Your Vacation in Silence?
A First-Timer’s Guide to Marijuana Tourism in Los Angeles
Cannabis has a long reputation for helping users relax, and recently there’s even been talk that it might have medicinal benefits for those suffering from anxiety and depression (though, for now, it’s too soon to say). Interested in giving it a try or learning more but not sure where to start? Or, more to the point, don’t live in a place where it’s legal yet? Book a trip to the west side of L.A. No shady dealers or Cheech and Chong antics here. Soak up the sun as you hop between design-forward dispensaries and hip social consumption lounges and eateries, guided by wise and learned experts who are glad to walk you through everything you need to know to have a safe and anxiety-free experience.